Life in Huntley

March 17, 2010

With the retreat of winter at hand, life is returning to Virginia. The chirping of insects and the sight of budding plants is just the beginning of things to come. Wednesday I took advantage of the weather to explore Huntley Meadows Park. With temperatures in the upper 60s for the first time in a while, I couldn’t have asked for a better day to be out.

One of the most overwhelming presences in the park right now belongs to frogs. The sheer volume of their calls right now is amazing. As I approached the boardwalk section of the trail, I saw a flurry of activity in the water some distance away as a rolling wave of frogs jumped for their preferred hiding spots. Despite the constant hum of their calls along the trail, I only managed to get close to one, shown above.

Other familiar sights included the Red-winged Blackbird, Canada Goose and a Downy Woodpecker. They are all frequent subjects, but I still enjoy each time I see them.

Walking through the woods, I crept slowly down an informal path to the waterfront and came upon an unexpected surprise. I always make it a point to be as quiet as possible – What I wasn’t expecting, however, was the hawk feet above me that I noticed just as it was taking flight. Fortunately, it just flew to another nearby branch and I was able to watch him for a few minutes.

Photographically, the positioning was awful. As much as possible, avoid having your subject in between your camera and the sun. Backlighting is bad lighting, unless you’re working up a cool silhouette. I didn’t have a choice with the hawk’s position and the resulting image is pretty washed out.

After a few minutes, it swept across the water and planted itself on a different perch some distance away.

As I sometimes do, I then spent a few minutes on a stakeout, seeing what would unfold in range. Before long, disturbances in the water got my attention. Huntley Meadows Park owes a lot of its habitat to beavers – one of which made a brief appearance. See if you can find it.

Overall a very nice outing, with dramatically more activity than last weekend on my previous (not written about here) visit.

2 Responses to “Life in Huntley”

  1. Jim Turner Says:

    Great photos and enjoyed the post, E!

  2. Evan Dyson Says:

    Thanks for dropping by!

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